A blend of returning letterwinners and newcomers promises a season of excitement for the 2002-03 Flying Dutch swimming and diving team.

The pre-season roster of 27 athletes includes 14 letterwinners and 13 newcomers. There are 12 freshmen, five sophomores, eight juniors and two seniors.

The tri-captains of the team are junior Haley Martin and senior Kelly Parker, both from Battle Creek, Mich. (Lakeview HS) and senior Erin Vandenberg of Beverly Hills, Mich. (Southfield Christian HS).

Among the returning veterans is sophomore Elizabeth Fredericks of San Bernardino, Calif. (San Bernardino HS) who achieved honorable mention All-America recognition last year by finishing 12th in the 200-yard butterfly and 15th in the 100-yard butterfly at the NCAA Division III championships.

The Flying Dutch return swimmers who were conference (MIAA) champions in nine events last year. Junior Audrey Arnold of Richmond, Ind. (Richmond HS) was a triple-winner, capturing the gold in the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke and 200-yard individual medley. Junior Michelle Smith of Olympia, Wash. (Homeschool) was the league champion in the 500-yard and 1,650-yard freestyle, senior Kelly Parker won the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke, and Elizabeth Fredericks took firsts in the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly. Sophomore Sarah Smith of Dearborn, Mich. (Dearborn HS) joint the league champions on the All-MIAA team.

Other returning letterwinners are junior Lindsay Close of Holland, Mich. (West Ottawa HS), sophomore Kari Foust of Plymouth, Mich. (Plymouth Salem HS), junior Jennifer Franklin of Portage, Mich. (Portage Central HS), junior Sarah Keenan of Portage, Mich. (Portage Northern HS), sophomore Brynne Moore of Holland Patent, N.Y. (Holland Patent HS), junjor Jennifer Strach of Saline, Mich. (Saline HS) and junior Melissa Sulok of South Bend, Ind. (Clag HS).

Coach John Patnott returns for his 22nd season as head coach. He has coached 102 All-Americans and had national champions 30 times during his career. He has also had 38 Academic All-Americans since 1984. His teams are annually competitive in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) and at the NCAA Division III national championship meet. He has coached Hope teams to 23 conference championships -- 16 by the women and seven by the men.

Hope will host the MIAA championhips at the Holland Aquatic Center from February 13-15. The NCAA Division III championships will be held March 13-15 at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.